Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on church and missions. I'm so thankful you've joined us for episode 173 of Missions on Point. This is the final in a short series on missions insights from the Old Testament. In this episode, we're going to consider Christ in the Old Testament. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, is essential to the redemption story, to the gospel, to the whole message of missions. It's a good thing to take a step back and look at Christ in the Old Testament. As we move through it to the New Testament, the appearance of Christ come in the flesh so that through his life, his death on the cross and resurrection, we can know salvation. His substitutionary death on the cross for our sins is what makes salvation possible. There is so much that could be said here, and there has already been a lot written on Christ in the Old Testament.
It Was Necessary for the Christ to Suffer
I'm thankful for those who have gone on before us to study this and present it in many different ways. Consider this episode just a brief overview. Jesus himself tells us in Luke chapter 24 that it was necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory, so beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Later in the same chapter, he says, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures and said to them, "Thus it is written that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."
We see that Christ himself said that he is in all of the Old Testament. We see at the very beginning of the Gospel of John, in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made. John teaches us that Jesus Christ is the creator. This is echoed by Paul in Colossians chapter 1 beginning in verse 15. "He," that is Christ, "Is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things were created through him and for him, and he is before all things and in him all things hold together."
The image of the invisible God
How does that work within the Trinity? God the Father is the architect and planner of all creation and redemption. Jesus Christ, the Son, is the agent and provider of all of those things, and the Holy Spirit is the administrator and perfecter of creation and redemption. Each person of the Godhead, fully God, eternal in every way has their specific role with regard to the planning, the provision, and the perfection of God's plans for all of creation. I think it's safe to say that anytime in the Old Testament where God appears and speaks to someone, that person is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When Genesis tells us that God walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, that would be Jesus. God met with and spoke with Abraham three different times in the stories in Genesis, and each of those times appearing as a man, he would be Jesus. The man Jacob wrestled with all night was Jesus. The angel of the Lord speaking from the burning bush to Moses was Jesus. In fact, this term, the angel of the Lord, Yahweh, is Jesus. There are a number of appearances of the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, which is speaking of Jesus before his incarnation. The angel of the Lord prevents Balaam's donkey from going the way Balaam wanted him to and then opened up Balaam's eyes to see him standing there and cause the donkey to speak to his master.
The commander of the Lord's army is his title when he speaks to Joshua. The angel of the Lord speaks to Manoa and his wife before the birth of their child, Samson. It seems that the fourth person that Nebuchadnezzar saw in the fiery furnace in which the three Hebrew children had been thrown was Christ. I believe that the person who Moses spoke with in the tent from time to time, which caused his face to glow as he came out of the tent, was pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. It seems that the visions which Isaiah and Daniel had of a person sitting on the throne with authority was Christ.
The Promised Messiah
Then there is the whole area of promises of a coming King, coming Messiah. Through the law, the history, the wisdom, the Psalms, and the prophets of the Old Testament, Christ is given names and titles and metaphors which refer to him either poetically or descriptively with regard to his person, his position, his majesty, his rule, his perfections, his ministry and work. Isaiah in particular as a wonderful writer and poet for multiple kings in the life of Judah used graphic language and pictures and words that describe Christ. Some of them are quite familiar, like this one from Isaiah chapter nine we often repeat around Christmastime. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end." Isaiah uses other terms repeatedly like Holy One of Israel, God, Lord, Lord God, Lord of Hosts, and Redeemer. He uses many other terms, like King of Israel, The Crown, First and Last, Leader, Savior, Teacher. Christ is referred to as The Shoot of David, The Redeemer, Shepherd, Prophet, The Hope of Israel, The I Am. He's referred to as righteousness, law-giver, God of heaven.
Signs and Types
There's another whole category called signs or types. This refers to things in the Old Testament that are by example or foreshadowing Jesus Christ. The tabernacle, the sacrificial system, the Passover are all types of Christ's redemption. God asking Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice and then preserving Isaac and giving a substitute for that sacrifice. Many elements of the Tabernacle service were indicators or examples of Christ's ministry to us in his saving work.
Jesus himself tells us in John three that the bronze serpent raised up in the wilderness to save people was a type of himself. The New Testament gives us lots of clues about what could be considered types, even in the action of things like the people of Israel crossing the Red Sea and going through the waters and under the waters, so to speak, where an image of baptism, which the Apostle Paul tells us. We have similar references about Noah and the flood. The Book of Hebrews is filled with Old Testament references to people and actions which prefigure the Lord Jesus Christ. These types or figures are not perfect representations of Christ. They're just pointing us toward Christ.
Prophecies of the Christ
Lastly, there's the whole area of prophecy. There are hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament regarding Christ and his incarnation, his life, his death on the cross and resurrection, which Christ fulfilled. From the earliest introduction of his ministry by John the Baptist, in which John refers to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, so many individual prophecies and pictures of things to be fulfilled in Christ's life, like the sacrifice of Psalm 22, the description of the crucifixion in Isaiah 53, Christ's triumphal entry in the Gospels, and so many particulars about Christ's birth in Bethlehem, the escape of his family into Egypt for a time, and his being raised in the city of Nazareth. All of those were very specific predictions in the Old Testament.
The fact that the majority of his ministry was based in Galilee of the Gentiles, his healing ministry and preaching of freedom and release from sin, the many miracles, not just small miracles, but huge, outstanding, unusual, never before even conceived of kind of miracles that Christ did in his ministry to verify his message and his person, even the authority of his teaching, which befuddled the Pharisees and Sadducees and Sanhedrin of his time, and of course his resurrection.
Long Ago at Many Times and in Many Ways
We echo with the writer of the letter to the Hebrews in chapter one, long ago at many times and in many ways God spoke to our fathers by the prophets. But in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things through, whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God, an exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Jesus himself is the perfect revelation. He is the interpretation and the final end of all that was predicted of him, all that he was named as in the Old Testament, and we as New Testament believers have the joy and the privilege of seeing it through the eyes of Christ and the New Testament writers to look at all the Old Testament and find Christ page after page after page as the expression, revelation, and fulfillment of all of God's purposes. We see, as it says in Ephesians chapter three, the unsearchable riches of Christ and bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden in ages in God who created all things so that, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Now, to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Thanks for joining us today on Missions on Point. We trust that you'll find more help and resources on our websites at propempo.com and missioserve.org. We are so thankful for those who support us, enabling us to produce this podcast. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.
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